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We have four pretty little nests,
Full fifty eggs are in this tree,
Joe Thompson robbed the nest last year,
And, year before, Tom Brown.
To every one in town.
Swallow and sparrow, lark and thrush,
Will tell you just the same.
Is such a wicked shame.
Oh! did you hear the concert
This morning from our tree?
Just as the clock strikes three.
From "youths' Penny Gazette."
THE ORANGE GIRL.
Betty Baker was born nobody knows where, and was brought up nobody knows how. Poor people are often very good to each other, and Betsy's friends were especially so to her, because she was an orphan child, who, as they said, had nobody to give her a thought. So first one woman gave her shelter for a few days, and then another, till she got old enough to do errands and to earn a few pence.
She slept in the summer on door-steps, or under an archway, or under a cart in Covent Garden, where she often fed on the refuse vegetables and fruit that she picked off the ground. She was always in rags ; but when they quite fell off, some kind person gave her some more. She was a strong, active girl, and the mistress of a gin-shop took a fancy to her, and told her she would give her a basket of oranges which she might hawk about the streets, and bring her what she got for them, and in return she would find her a bed, and odds and ends of food.
Betty was delighted, and managed to sell the oranges well. The room in which she slept was small, and sometimes ten or twelve people were huddled together there, on heaps of straw, and to her food her mistress often added a drop of gin to make up for a short meal. But poor Betty had known no better life, till one day she was selling oranges to a lady in Great Russell Street, who asked her where she lived. She told her, and the lady, a Mrs. Symes, found that Betty was paying her mistress a great deal more than the worth of her keep. So she told her to give notice to leave, and promised to lend her money enough to buy a basket of her own, and oranges of her own, which she should repay her by degrees.
The gin-shop mistress was very angry, but Betty left her. First Mrs. Symes sent her maid with her to one of the penny bathing places, and for the first time in her life she knew what a good wash was like. Then some decent clean clothes were ready for her, and then at one of the new model lodging-houses she got a bed in a room with two respectable women for Is. 6d. a week, and a good meal for 3d. at a dining-hall. She hardly knew herself, and wondered how she had lived in such dirt and misery before. Sunday used to be the best day for selling oranges, but Mrs. Symes persuaded her that for mind and body too she bad better keep her Sundays.
Even horses are the worse for never having a rest all the seven days, much more a poor girl who is always on her feet. And Mrs. Symes found that the horses knew as much as Betty did about right and wrong, about the God who made her, the Saviour who died for her, the Bible that was written for her. She bad never been inside a church, and could not have understood a word she heard if she had. She asked Mrs. Symes's servants to let her go with them to Westminster Abbey, which was near. She liked the music and the painted windows, and wondered at the large building, but that was all. But Betty was grateful to Mrs. Symes, and when she advised her to learn to read, and found for her an adult evening-school, she gladly went, and perhaps all she heard and all she read struck her much more tban it does those children who have known it all their lives. It is certain that she became a very good girl; she repaid Mrs. Symes, saved money, was able to set up a shop near Oxford Street, and married a man who keeps a cab, and brings all his earnings home to his wife.
THE CONCERT IN THE WOOD.
A Concert once by Mr. Spring
Was given in the wood; He begged both old and young to come,
And all to sing who could.
Her favourite ballad sang,
So clear her sweet voice rang.
And next a gentleman appeared,
Come lately from abroad.
And so it was encored.
His style was quite his own.
But all too soon was gone.
The Finches then were asked to sing.
Would they get up a glee
Who sing so prettily?
No doubt would take a part;
And sings with all his heart.
Now came a much-expected guest,
So late, that everybody feared
At first she said she could not sing,
She was afraid to try;
Was filled with melody.
The guests were charmed, and begged for more.
She said she could not stay;
And then she went away.
Began with Mrs. Thrush:
To gather round the bush.
And so they sang, and still sing on;
And all who music love,
The concert in the grove.
All guests are welcome there,
In joys like these to share.
From "The Children's Choral Book."
THE CLEVEREST GIRL IN THE SCHOOL.
Alice Wilson was the cleverest girl in Thornhope School. She was always at the top of her class; and not being at all shy, was ready to answer every question at the Examinations, more readily than the others; so she got more notice than was good for her,